Barn guilt - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Midwest
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Barn guilt

Ever feel guilty that spending time at the barn takes away from spending time with the kids or other family responsibilities, etc?

It's snowy and cold here so I don't take my one moderately horsey interested kid because she'll complain she is cold and bored. But in the summer I do. Sometimes she still complains she is bored if I am riding and she is just waiting around. Don't blame her.

Closest I can get my horses is about a 25 minute drive one way. That isn't bad. But I work full time and can only go about 1 weekend day a week and one weekday. When the days get longer I can go after work.

I'm contemplating downsizing my horses. I only have 2 but both need consistent work and usually I can only do one horse per barn visit. One of them is a pony that is too small for me. She is for the kids. The other just needs regular work. He is the type that needs an hour of work everytime. He is green and has damage that needs to be reversed. Of course, we would make much faster progress if I could work him every day or every other day at least.

Going to the barn most of the time makes me so much happier but oftentimes I also feel guilty for various reasons. Ditching my kids with my husband. Not having enough time to work with both horses. Shelling out a whole bunch of money every month for board when we could be putting that money into something else more useful.

Just looking for some kind words and other people in the same boat with possibly some suggestions.
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 02:00 PM
Green Broke
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Balancing barn life with anything is going to take some give and take. Sometimes you'll have to give up some barn time in favor of family obligations, or even doing something fun with your kids. Sometimes, you have to take some "mom time", though.

Maybe you should consider letting your green horse take some time off until the weather gets warmer and you can go after work. Work with your other horse on the barn days, and let the greenie just be a horse until you have time to spend. If you can start riding him at night soon then you can put him back into consistent work. Come summer time, you may find that the kids are more interested in riding and you can ride together. Sometimes kids need to suck it up and hang around with their parents during "boring" times, but it doesn't seem fair to subject them to it on a regular basis if they dislike it. Forcing barn trips on them may also be a good way for them to be off put of horses.

Also, how horsey is your horsey kid? If her interest in her pony involves riding once in awhile and that's it, then you need to reconsider keeping the pony. For the upkeep of the pony you could just pay for her to take lessons when she's interested. If it's a horse that you are actually interested in riding then it's great to keep her, but I wouldn't keep her around for the kids if they aren't going to do much with her and you don't have the time or inclination to spend with her. If she's a good, kids safe pony then you should be able to full or half lease her pretty easily. In fact, a half lease with you riding her a couple of times per week to keep her in check would probably be a good situation for both parties. She'd also still be there if your kids wanted to ride. Evaluate your needs and decide which horses YOU actually want to work with. Decide whether your kids are interested enough in the pony to keep her if you're not interested in working with her.
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post #3 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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I think that as women we're preprogrammed to feel guilty for things. One of the things I no longer permit myself to ever feel guilty for is my horse time. I need horses like a fish needs water. Being a good wife and mother does not mean never taking care of yourself, in fact it really means the opposite. You need time for you. Sometimes that will mean you go to the barn and play with the horses. Sometime, it might mean you go get a massage or spend an afternoon at the movies all by yourself. It's totally ok, you need the mental break and the chance to do something just for you.

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post #4 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 02:38 PM
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no other than my house is dirtier than the barn LOL

I think i will hire a maid. I run the ranch that my horses are at. and my daughter works for me. Only guilt I may feel is that It is hard to get away to go see my mom in Florida
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post #5 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 02:57 PM
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I don't think that you need to feel guilty for that. Maybe I'm just still in my selfish phase, but I think everyone deserves to have something that they enjoy doing. My boyfriend really likes video games (dumb xD). That's his thing, and he should be allowed to have it... and all the (in my opinion) silly stuff that goes with it. xD Same with my horses.

I'm sure your family respects your needs. (:
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post #6 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 03:02 PM
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Maybe partially lease your horses so that it helps offset the costs and keeps the horses in work. :)

If the guilt is toooo much you could sell the horses and just take lessons
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post #7 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I've actually thought about partial board for the pony. Still mulling that over. and yes of course I would not want to keep a pony if the kids aren't interested. Although I know in my position it is unrealistic to think I'll have her forever since I pay to board her, I hate the thought of selling as I'm paranoid inevitably one day she'll be in the wrong hands. (I've thought many times how my previous horses ended up when I was a kid.)

My oldest is 9 and she likes the barn and riding. I could see that she may ultimately like to show a little but coming from a show background myself when I was a kid, I wouldn't want her to focus on showing. It's incredibly expensive for one and I just want them to have a more well rounded childhood than I had. My 7 yr old likes riding occasionally and my youngest just turned 5 and at this point doesn't have the attention span yet and behavior needed to be at the barn. So she might get there someday.

Haven't thought about just holding off on working the horse for now. Probably not too much difference doing that compared to what I'm doing now. Then I could work the pony more and it won't be a time consuming event since she is laid back and generally fairly easy to work with.
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 04:02 PM
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Oh please try not to feel guilty....

Lets put it like this: You work to provide for your kids, you clean and offer them a stable/safe environment. You offer them unconditional love, help with their homework, bellies full of good food and far more comforts than a lot of us would have experiences years ago.

Those few hours you can take out for YOU are well bloody earned. You have made numerous sacrifices for your little people, you deserve something for you.

Stop for a minute, open your mind, learn. You may not agree with what I say, I may not agree with what you say but we will both learn something new.
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post #9 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 06:38 PM
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Since when did a father parenting his children become known as ditching your kids with your husband. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe they enjoy their time with him without your presence?
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post #10 of 26 Old 02-20-2014, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
Since when did a father parenting his children become known as ditching your kids with your husband. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe they enjoy their time with him without your presence?
I am fairly certain i would know whether they enjoy time with their father while i am away. Your question is moot.
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